June 10, 2013

Hamburger Buns

I've been baking almost all our bread for years now, but I've rarely attempted to make buns. There was one time I made delicious rolls that we used as hamburger buns. I decided to change that this summer when I came across a recipe for Hamburger Buns on Brown Eyed Baker.

I didn't have to modify her recipe at all to get perfectly delicious hamburger buns. I think my favorite aspect of my homemade buns was using my black sesame seeds to give them a unique touch. We'll see if I'm now converted to making all my own hamburger buns ... they definitely are a step up in the flavor and texture department from store bought white mush-in-your-mouth buns.

Hamburger Buns
4 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. instant yeast
1 egg, slightly beaten, at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1 egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water until frothy, for egg wash (optional)
Sesame or poppy seeds for garnish (optional)

Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). If using active dry yeast, warm 1/2 cup of the milk and let the yeast stand in that for 5 minutes prior to combining the remainder of the ingredients.) Pour in the egg, butter and milk, and mix on low speed until all the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a ball. If the dough seems very stiff and dry, trickle in more milk until the dough is soft and supple.

Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook), adding more flour, if necessary, to create a dough that is soft, supple and tacky, but not sticky. Continue kneading (or mixing) for 6 to 8 minutes. (In the electric mixer, the dough should clear the sides of the bowl, but stick every so slightly to the bottom.) Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Ferment at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Remove the fermented dough from the bowl and divide it into twelve 3-ounce pieces. (I was excited to use my kitchen scale for this since it's fairly new! I actually ended up with 14 buns.) Shape the pieces into tight rounds, and place on 2 baking sheets lined with Silipats or parchment paper. Mist the dough lightly with spray oil and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes.

Gently press down on the tops of the rolls with your fingers to flatten slightly. Mist the tops of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Proof the dough at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the buns have nearly doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Brush the buns with the egg wash and garnish with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired. Bake the buns for approximately 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. The buns should cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before serving. Makes 12 to 14 buns.

Store leftovers in an airtight zip-top bag. If you want to freeze them, I would wrap individually in plastic wrap and then store in a zip-top bag. Thaw at room temperature.

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